Eventually, during the final rebellion against Babylon, King Zedekiah imprisoned Jeremiah for all his negative prophecies. While Jeremiah was in jail, his cousin Hanamel came to him and offered to sell him some land in Anathoth in Benjamin because Jeremiah had first dibs on it. Jeremiah bought the land for half a pound of silver. Then in front of everyone, he handed the deed to this dude named Baruch, and said, Store this deed in a well-sealed earthenware pot! See, he explained, I do this because, although I’ve assured you Jerusalem will fall and burn, and the Jews be sent into exile, one day, we will be forgiven and the Promised Land will again be ours to buy and sell! And in that day, my nearest relatives will have this deed to show they own that land!
Much to Pashur’s distaste, sometime later King Zekekiah sent him to inquire of Jeremiah God’s word on their chances against Babylon, since Zedekiah had sort of rebelled, and now the Babylonians were gathering in force. Jeremiah was all, Tell the king that God is not on his side! The Babylonians are totally going to win. If the people in Jerusalem aren’t killed in this war, they will die of disease and starvation. Those that survive will exiled or enslaved. Tell the king to surrender to King Nebuchadnezzar for all our sakes!
Another time, God told Jeremiah to go down to the pottery shop to watch the potter work. So Jeremiah watched the potter working his wheel, but the pot collapsed. So the potter reworked the clay and made a new pot. Then God was all, I am the potter and you humans and your petty nations are the pot! I make you and I can break you! Go tell people, I’m going to break them. They will ignore you of course, but tell them anyway and tell them that’s why I’m going to turn Judah into a hellscape.
So Jeremiah did as he was bid. Everybody was pretty sick of listening to him, so when he would start talking, they would yell, Shut up, asshole! And then do their best to ignore him.
This upset Jeremiah, so he prayed, Everybody’s so mean to me! I think they want to kill me! Please, God, punish them for me! Let their children starve and let them be murdered and their wives widowed!
God continued, Look, Judah is super sinful. Everywhere I look there are Asherim or temples to Baal or who even knows. All this cheating has made me so wrathful your puny little human mind can’t even fathom it.
Jeremiah then prayed, Why have you cursed me with your prophecies, God? People hate me for telling them your messages! Please punish those who persecute me!
God answered, Ok, ok, Jeremiah. I get it. Now, I want you to go down to the People’s Gate in Jerusalem and remind everyone you see about the whole keeping the Sabbath holy commandment and remind them that they’re not supposed to do any work or really even leave their houses. Tell them that if they start keeping the Sabbath, I’ll forgive everything. But–if they don’t…..well, you know.
This other time, there was this bad drought that had everybody worried and thirsty and hungry. So Jeremiah called out to God, Hey, uh, so we’re all starving and stuff. It’s so bad that the herds of wild donkeys are dying all over the place, and the people, well, they’ve been repenting and praying and sacrificing. So….you think you cold relent and send some rain?
God was all, Don’t bother me. Their prayers mean nothing. I don’t care if they all die.
Then Jeremiah was all, Uh…..if I go back and tell them that, they’ll probably kill me. They don’t like me anyway and there’s all these other prophets going around telling them that you hear their prayers and the drought will end soon.
God answered, Fuck those guys. I didn’t send them. They’re lying liars and they’re going to die with everyone else.
So Jeremiah started crying and wailing, Why, God? Everybody is so sorry and they promise to only believe in you and you always said you’d forgive us if we repented!
One day, God told Jeremiah to go buy some new underwear–nice ones, like Calvin Klein or Bon Bons. A couple days later, as Jeremiah was enjoying the slide of his silky drawers, God was all, Now I want you to go down to the Euphrates and bury your underwear in the river bank. Jeremiah was all, Um….Ok….Then a few days after that, God was like, Hey Jeremiah, go dig up those underwear. So Jeremiah went and retrieved his now muddy, torn, ruined panties. God was all, I’m going to ruin Judah like you did those underwear!
Another time, God told Jeremiah to go tell people that God would turn them all into alcoholics, from the king to the beggar, and not happy drunks, either, but surly drunks, who would destroy each other with fighting.
That they would all go into exile and have pain worse than childbirth. He told them, God says, Can the leopard change its spots? No? That’s while I will scatter you! I will see you punished! I will hold your skirts over your heads–hold you down–while you are raped and murdered!
Then God told Jeremiah to go through all the streets of Jerusalem and then to all the smaller cities and remind everyone he met of the covenant It has made with Abraham, Moses, and all those guys, and that anyone who ignored or forsook that covenant was cursed! Doomed!
So Jeremiah traveled about declaring woe and doom, but people didn’t really like it. In fact, it kinda pissed them off. At Anathoth, people even roughed up Jeremiah and told him that he could either stop “prophesying” or they would kill him. This freaked him out pretty bad, so he called on God to help him. God was all, ignore those cats, yo. Their sons will be murdered and their daughters will starve to death.
Then Jeremiah went to the gate of the Temple in Jerusalem and accosted all the men coming in and out, saying to them, Reform! Repent! Praying in the Temple will not save you! Do you think God listens to sinners like you? To reprobates that oppress foreigners and women? Those who worship other gods? Shabbat believers like you, who burn incense to Baal on Tuesdays are as condemned as murderers! Those of you who offer cakes to Ashtoreth for fertility and childbirth rituals are no better than adulterers! You all might as well go into mourning now, because God rejects you all. God especially abhors those of you who go into the Valley of Ben Hinnon and sacrifice your children, your sons and daughters!, to Tophet! You will die wretched deaths and your carcasses will be left to rot in the streets!
My fellow Benjaminites, flee! Flee from Jerusalem! Prepare your fortifications in the cities of Benjamin! Death will march out of the north, and we must prepare. Winter is coming! God is going to punish Jerusalem. Its wrath will be poured out upon children and women as well as men. From the richest to the poorest! All will be put to the sword! Most will die! God will avenge Itself upon us all for our cheating ways!
God told me to go look for a righteous man. I couldn’t find one. First I checked among the crowds in the market place. Not a one. But I said to myself, it must be because they’re all poor and uneducated. I bet if I go to the nice part of town I’ll find one. Nope. None there either.
So God sends this message. It asks, Why should I forgive you? You’ve cheated on me so many times. You’re like a lusty stallion, neighing for its neighbor’s wives. Only in this analogy, the wives are other nation’s gods. Who aren’t even that attractive. So I’m going to ravage you to teach you a lesson. You like other nations? Well, other nations will gather around your cities like lions and tigers around abandoned baby animals. And when the time comes, they will sink their teeth into your necks and gorge upon your blood! But….I’ll let a few of you survive, for auld lang syne. You’ll be in exile and poor. But you’ll be alive.